Southern quarterback Austin Howard needed just a half to turn in an award-winning performance.
On Monday, Howard was named Southwestern Athletic Conference offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season for his play in Saturday’s 57-24 victory at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The sophomore from West St. John completed 15 of 17 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns as the Jaguars built a 41-8 halftime lead. He threw four incompletions in the third quarter before taking the rest of the game off.
“I thought he managed the game well,” coach Dawson Odums said Monday during the SWAC coaches weekly teleconference. “He made the right reads and threw the ball to the open guys and the open guys caught it. That allowed us to have a flow to what we were trying to do.”
Howard led the Jaguars to touchdowns on their first three possessions and connected with four different receivers — Bradley Coleman, Willie Quinn, Malcolm Crockett and Nico Talbert — on his scoring passes.
“He played extremely well,” UAPB coach Monte Coleman said. “He capitalized on short passes. They came in with a good game plan, and he was very accurate and did an outstanding job of playing within their game plan.”
It was Howard’s second four-touchdown game this season. He also had four scores in a 45-34 victory at Alabama State on Oct. 10, which earned him Player of the Week honors. He won the award the first time after a 50-31 victory against Jackson State on Sept. 19.
Southern has won eight SWAC Player of the Week awards this season. In addition to Howard’s three, Quinn has been named special teams Player of the Week three times, and linebackers Daniel Brown and Kentavious Preston have been named Defensive Player of the Week once each.
More blocked kicks
The Jaguars are familiar with the SWAC special teams Player of the Week: It’s Prairie View cornerback Nick Brewer, who blocked two punts in the Panthers’ 40-34 victory against Alcorn State on Saturday.
Both of Brewer’s kick blocks led to scores for Prairie View. His first block was picked up by a teammate and returned for a touchdown, and Brewer recovered his second blocked punt and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Brewer has blocked six kicks this season, which places him two away from tying the FCS record of eight, held by Bucknell’s Josh Eden. He blocked two extra-point attempts against the Jaguars in addition to recovering two fumbles on special teams in the Panthers’ 47-42 victory Sept. 17.
Prairie View linebacker Jalan Coleman was named Newcomer of the Week after making 11 tackles, seven solo, against Alcorn. Jackson State defensive end Javancy Jones was named defensive Player of the Week after making 12 tackles, including six for loss (two of which were sacks), in a 17-12 loss to Alabama State.
Gales celebrates birthday
Injured Southern receiver Devon Gales tweeted this Monday morning: “Today I celebrate my 22nd birthday. I am blessed to be surrounded by my parents & so many people who care for me. GOD is good all the time!”
Gales continues to rehab at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta after spinal surgery. He was injured while covering a kickoff against Georgia on Sept. 26.
Odums began his turn on the teleconference by thanking the SWAC office and the other schools for their support of Gales. He said he called Gales on Monday morning to wish him a happy birthday, and he said several of Gales’ teammates had done the same.
Devil from New Orleans honored
Mississippi Valley State freshman defensive back Marquis Green, who played at Landry-Walker High School, was named the Week 10 College Sports Madness SWAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Green had three interceptions, including one on the game’s final play, as the Delta Devils beat Alabama A&M 27-24 in overtime in Normal, Alabama, for their first victory of the season.
Nearing finish line
Grambling can clinch the West Division title by beating UAPB, which is 0-7 in conference play, on Saturday in Pine Bluff. ... Alcorn’s second conference loss tightened the race in the East, but the Braves (4-2) are still in control. Alabama State (5-3) is in second, but Alcorn holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Hornets. The Braves visit Texas Southern and Alabama State hosts Prairie View. An Alcorn win and an ASU loss would send the defending SWAC champion Braves back to the SWAC championship game.
Follow Les East on Twitter: @EastAdvocate.